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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  May 1, 2013 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT

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they are taking voluntary detention while their attorneys sort of try to figure out and present a bail package there to the judge. and that is it for me here in boston. but please do not go anywhere. we'll continue this breaking coverage with my colleague jake tapper who is up next. "the lead" starts right now. breaking news. three new suspects in the boston terror investigation appearing in court moments ago. i'm jake tapper and this is the lead. college buddies of the accused boston bomber dzhokhar tsarnaev are now under arrest accused of helping him get rid of key evidence as the feds hunted him down. they're probably regretting that terrorista license polite about now. what do we know about what they knew and should bells have gone off when one of the suspects tried to get back in the country earlier this year? we'll get the latest intel from congressman peter king. four lives lost, so many permanently affected.
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did the government miss a chance to stop the carnage when the fbi questioned tamerlan tsarnaev in 2011? former homeland security secretary michael chertoff will weigh in. three more suspects just appeared in court in connection with this case. the justice department says two of them, tazhayakov and kadyrbayev are nationals of kazakh stap charged with conspiracy to obstruct jus tils. the third, a u.s. citizen, is charged with making false statements. all three are friends of dzhokhar tsarnaev and fellow students at the university of massachusetts dartmouth but officials caution so far no evidence showed these three knew about the attacks before hand. today's charges are about their actions after.
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the two students are seen with dzhokhar tsarnaev in this picture in times square from sometime last year. now, here are the facts as asserted by the criminal complaints against these three released just moments ago. on thursday, april 18th, three days after the bombing, after the photographs of the suspects were released by the fbi, kadyrbayev was driving home when phillipos called him and told him to turn on the tv because one of the suspects in the boston attacks looked familiar. he did so and agreed one of the bombers looked like tsarnaev. he texted, have you seen the news? he told him the tv news was showing photographs of tsarnaev and identifying their friend dzhokhar as one of the terrorists. as their apartment the two looked at photographs of tsarnaev broadcast by cnn. kadyrbayev then texted the third
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friend phillipos and told him to go to dzhokhar's dorm room where the other two met him. between 8:43 p.m. and 8:48 p.m. thursday night kadyrbayev texted the alleged bomber tsarnaev and told him he looked like the suspect on television. tsarnaev's return text contained lol and other things he interpreted as jokes such as you better not text me, and come to my room and take whatever you want. the three did go to his room and at tsarnaev's apartment the three noticed a backpack containing fireworks that had been opened and emptied of powder. kadyrbayev said he, quote, knew when he saw the empty fireworks that dzhokhar, his friend, was involved in the marathon bombing. he also found a jar of vaseline in the room and told tazhayakov he believed tsarnaev had used it to make a bomb about one month before the bombing tsarnaev had told the two students he knew how to make a bomb.
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kadyrbayev decided to remove the backpack from the room he says in order to help his friend avoid trouble. he decided to take tsarnaev's laptop as well and his explanation for this is he did not want tsarnaev's roommate to think he was stealing or behaving suspiciously by just taking the backpack. kadyrbayev and the other two returned to the apartment of the two with the materials. phillipos later recalled all three of them, quote, started to freak out because it became clear from a cnn report they were watching that dzhokhar was one of the boston bombers. he says they decided collectively to throw the backpack and fireworks into the trash because they didn't want tsarnaev to get into trouble, unquote. phillipos says he didn't understand what the other two were talking about because they were speaking in russian. should we get rid of the stuff or words to that effect as phillipos recalled. he said do what you have to do. they put it all with some trash in a big black trash bag and threw it into a dumpster and on friday, april 19th, about 6:00
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a.m. the three saw news reports identifying the tsarnaev brothers as the terrorists and reporting that tamerlan tsarnaev, the older brother, was dead. on april 26th, phillipos confessed and law enforcement recovered tsarnaev's backpack from the landfill in new bedford. let's bring in cnn's legal analyst jeffrey toobin to go through all these details because there's a lot of information and there are some unanswered questions. jeffrey, thanks for joining us. shortly before 9:00 p.m. tsarnaev according to one of the suspects arrested today jokes that they should come to his room and take whatever they want. minutes later the three go to the apartment and collect incriminating evidence. are we supposed to really believe that these are unrelated? there remains no admission in this text from the criminal complaint that that was an instruction to take the incriminating evidence but it seems to speak for itself. what do you make of that, jeffrey? >> well, if down the line this winds up going to trial, that would be a jury question. do you think that they just decided on the spur of the
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moment for whatever reason to take these backpacks, or were they trying to help their friend dispose of evidence? i think it's a very difficult to believe that a jury would ever think that it was anything other than helping in a cover up but those are the kinds of issues that ultimately go before a jury if this case ever winds up there. >> am i allowed to ask you what you think as if you were a juror right now? >> oh, sure. i read this complaint and i think to myself, no one can be that stupid. but you know what? we discover all the time people can be this stupid. this looks like a fifth rate cover up trying to help out their college buddy and in a way that they would be trying to help him cover up some underage drinking or something extremely minor. instead you have a crime where at least four people are dead and they are still engaging in this incredibly amateurish cover
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up and they are going to be in a world of trouble as a result. >> the other thing that struck me, there are three things that struck me. the second one is that one of the suspects says he was in tsarnaev's apartment, sees vaseline and thinks oh, that must have been used to make a bomb. who sees vaseline and thinks oh, that must have been used to make a bomb? >> well, that is the most suggestive comment in there that there had been some previous discussion of bombing, because i think most people would not assume vaseline is involved in making a bomb. i don't know how to make a bomb. it was certainly a surprise to me vaseline might be involved. but it does suggest that there had been some previous discussion. i should say that the most important thing, perhaps, that's not in either of these complaints, is any suggestion that these three knuckleheads were involved in the bombing, itself. and i think that's very important, because as bad as this is, it would be much worse if there was a suggestion of a broader conspiracy here and there is absolutely nothing in
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these complaints that suggests these guys were part of a broader conspiracy. >> not yet. jeffrey toobin, thank you so much. we're waiting now for a news conference with the defense attorneys. we will bring it to you live. cnn's pamela brown was inside the boston courtroom where the hearing happened. she joins us now live. pam, give us a play by play of what went down. >> reporter: well, jake, the hearing for phillipos just ended moments ago and was very similar to the first hearing for the two new bedford students that had been held for immigration issues for the past nearly two weeks, kadyrbayev and tazhayakov both hearings very similar. in the last hearing the judge told phillipos who has been charged with making false statements, federal charges here, that he better pay attention and not look down. this is the same judge miriam boller, who administered the miranda rights to dzhokhar
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tsarnaev in the hospital last monday, so interesting to note there. during both of these hearings, that the three suspects who are all three 19 years old, looked very downtrodden. they walked in with chains around their feet. they were handcuffed. they didn't make eye contact with anyone and looked down a lot hence the statement from judge boller, talking to phillipos. during the hearing, the judge made them aware of the federal charges they face for the two students, the diaz kadyrbayev and tazhayakov facing conspiracy to obstruct justice. she told them the charges and asked if they understood. they were very soft spoken when they responded yes and the same thing happened with phillipos. when it came time to talk about the questions for bail, all the attorneys decided to waive this, to waive the detention hearing and, instead, have more time. and i spoke to the attorneys for two of the suspects and they said they wanted more time to
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put together a bail package so what this means is that they opted all three opted for voluntary detention. we know that for phillipos he will appear in court this coming monday at 2:00 p.m. for the other two their probable cause hearing is on may 14th at 11:00. now, important to note here, probable cause hearing, defendants have a right to waive that hearing because there is so much evidence presented. this was certainly a packed courtroom. the three suspects will remain in detention under custody of the u.s. marshal's service. >> you said their demeanor was they seemed downtrodden. any other description you could give us? was there anybody in the courtroom there for them, any family members or friends? >> reporter: well, jake, just to put this all in context you have to remember this morning for the two students the two dias
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kadyrbayev and azamat tazhayakov were in court this morning for removal proceedings for allegedly violating their visa status. this afternoon we were told by the u.s. attorney's office they were arrested on the federal charges. you can imagine how shocking, overwhelming that must be for these two suspects but, again, as you read in this criminal complaint, these are pretty serious allegations here that they were involved with obstructing justice, with allegedly disposing of a backpack with fireworks and a laptop that belonged to dzhokhar tsarnaev after the attack. these are very serious charges. for these -- for those two students the charges carry a fine of $250,000 and five years. for the other student phillipos for lying to investigators it carries a penalty of up to eight years. again, just going back to their demeanor, they walked in with chains around their feet, handcuffed. they just looked down. they didn't make eye contact with anyone and would only look
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at their attorney talking to them in court and, like i said, when the judge asked if they understood the charges, they were very soft spoken, speaking to the judge. two of them were wearing jeans and t-shirts. the other was wearing navy calkies and a sweater. i didn't see any family members. i'm not sure if there were any family members here. there might have been. i know that one of these suspects, phillipos, is a u.s. citizen. i don't know exactly where he is from. perhaps his family was inside the courthouse. the other two suspects are from kazakhstan. not sure if their family was inside. >> all right. pamela brown, thank you so much. just a reminder we are waiting for the defense attorneys to speak and will bring that to you live when they come out of the courthouse to talk to the press. coming up gun powder, sure. but vaseline? we'll find out how a common household item in dzhokhar tsarnaev's dorm room just might have been turned into a critical component in the bombs that went off in boston. plus, she continues to meet with the fbi as well as her lawyers.
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what exactly does tamerlan tsarnaev's widow know? and is her information providing new leads for investigators? coming up. ♪ [ female announcer ] recently, jcpenney changed. some changes you liked. and some you didn't. come back to see us. we listened to you. now we'd love to see you. ♪
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welcome back. you're looking at pictures of the federal courthouse in boston where we are waiting for attorneys for the three new suspects to come out and speak. we'll bring it to you live when it happens. all of today's developments just raised more questions. what authorities know about the tsarnaev brothers in the time leading up to the attack and whether the tsarnaev brothers had any help. let's get the latest from congressman peter king a republican member of the house homeland security and intelligence committees. thanks for joining us. how sure are authorities that these three arrested today had no knowledge before the attack of the attack? >> jake, i don't think they're
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sure at all. the reason i say that is i heard jeffrey toobin refer to them as knuckleheads and was saying they're 19-year-old kids. i'm not so sure. the reason i say that is they were in contact with the younger brother. they texted him. he went back to them with lol and advised or urged them it appears to go to his room and take the evidence out. would he have done that if he didn't trust them if somehow they didn't know something was going on? they go to the room and take it out and decide to help a friend. it's not like getting rid of a six-pack when someone is charged with underage drinking. you're talking about the worst mess in recent american history and the largest man hunt and your friend is involved and they're treating it almost in a casual way and, again, i just think that what the fbi and others are going to be looking for now is did they have any knowledge before hand? i think on page 11 of the affidavit it talks about how the younger brother had told them he knew how to make a bomb. he learned how to make a bomb. you put all this together i'm
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just putting myself in the position if my best friend in college, suddenly i realize he is the defendant in the worst massacre in recent history and i just go to his place and they say they took the fireworks and then to make him look good they also took the computer, i don't know how that makes it look like much of a crime if you're taking a guy's computer out. >> i agree there are a lot of unanswered questions. i assume the fbi left them in the criminal complaint because they plan on filling them in later. >> right. >> what do you hear from investigators when it comes to whether or not they're working off the premise that the tsarnaev brothers acted alone in the planning and execution of the attack? are they still convinced or are they still open minded or do they think now based on today's arrests that it's likely there are others involved? >> the people i spoke to in the investigation, most of them are operating on the presumption others are involved. i'm not saying there is evidence others were involved. when they look at the totality of the circumstances, it's hard to believe that these two
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defendants, these two terrorists could have done all of this on their own. whether there is a component, others here in the u.s. who facilitated what they were doing or are actually part of the conspiracy, you know, the investigators don't know for sure but my understanding from talking to them is they're operating under the presumption others are involved and if it turns out they aren't, fine. but right now there is a presumption i believe that these two could not have done all of this on their own. there had to be at least unwilling facilitators or others who knew something was going on and didn't ask exactly what but knew there was some plot here. >> based on your briefings, do you think these three individuals arrested today will be able to provide any more intelligence on the tsarnaev brothers, significant intelligence? >> i have not received official briefings. my sources are people in law enforcement. >> okay. >> who i've known over the years. basically yes they do believe that these three could provide much more information as to what they knew before the attack on
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april 15th. >> congressman peter king, thanks so much. we'll talk to you soon i'm sure. again, a court hearing for the new suspects in the boston investigation just wrapped up minutes ago. we are now waiting for a news conference with the defense attorneys and we will bring it to you live. later, call it big brother or call it better security but a majority of americans are willing to put up with more surveillance cameras on city streets if it means it could help stop the next terror attack. we'll be right back with some very surprising poll information. [ male announcer] surprise -- you're having triplets.
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you're looking at live pictures from the federal
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courthouse. we're waiting for defense attorneys representing the three men charged today in connection with the boston bombing investigation. we will bring that to you live when they come out and begin answering reporters' questions. the ultimate goal of the terror attack is to terrorize. it looks as though the boston bombings have struck a little more fear in the hearts of americans. polls conducted in the wake of the marathon bombings by cnn and "time" magazine show that 4 in 10 americans are worried that someone in their family will become a victim of terrorism. that is the highest that number has been since president obama took office. although worries about terrorism are up slightly only 40% of americans say they're willing to give up some personal freedom to fight terrorism. while there's a lot of support for more cameras in public places people want the government to layoff their cell phones and get out of their e-mails. only 38% favor expanding government monitoring of those forms of communication. that number was at 54% after 9/11. joining me now is former homeland security secretary mike the chertoff now chairman and
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cofounder of the chertoff group a consulting firm that focuses on national security issues. thanks so much for joining us. i appreciate it. if you were still heading the department of homeland security, which is obviously intimately involved in this investigation, what questions would you be asking the fbi and investigators right now about these three individuals arrested today? >> the first thing you want to know is, is there another threat out there. you want to acertain are these three people actually involved in any way in the preparation and carrying out of the bombing attack? you want to look to see were there other connections in the u.s. who might have been facilitators. you want to see what the connections were overseas. were they trained in russia? were they inspired in russia or chechnya? and you need to do this in order to make sure that you're preventing another plot from being carried out. that's priority number one. >> having been at the department of homeland security during 2005 to 2009, when some of these plots were foiled and other operations took place, what is your suspicion?
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i don't obviously we don't want to go into irresponsible speculation but when it comes to the likelihood that two individuals were able to do this entirely on their own, it seems like even if the bombs were relatively crude it's more sophisticated a bomb than i could make and seems like a rather sophisticated operation. >> also appears to be planned out. it appears from reporting there were other devices and guns. it wasn't something that was spur of the moment. it required a certain amount of planning. the question in my mind is what happened over there in russia. you would normally expect and we saw during the time i was in office many of these plots involved a component of somebody going overseas, training in a camp or training with somebody and then bringing that back home. that's why if i were looking at this as an investigator i'd put a lot of focus on what happened in the caucuses during the six months the older brother was back there. >> do you think, looking at what we know about the preattack intelligence, that there was a warning by the russians to the
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fbi about tamerlan tsarnaev, to the cia about six months later in 2011, he went to russia, to chechnya, dagestan, came back. there was no ping, no flag raised. was there a failure of information sharing at the very least or what we all talk about after 9/11, using our imaginations at the very most? >> well, you know, the structures are there to share information. the law is there to share information. obviously there was a failure in that somebody missed this. now it may be an excusable failure or understandable but it's not a success when people die. the question here is should you have tracked this person when they came back and reinterviewed them? obviously when a foreign service takes the trouble twice to send a message to agencies, you have to take it seriously how often do the russians do that? >> well it's not unknown but not common and any time a foreign service makes a specific request with a particular name, it suggests that they have some
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knowledge based on activity. >> the fbi complained we went back to them for more information and they did not cooperate. you heard president obama yesterday talking about how cooperative the russians have been since the attacks, the implications being not so much before the attacks. does this cold war mentality that president obama talked about still hamper relations between the u.s. and russia? >> it appears to have been a problem in this case but really shouldn't. we've had relations with countries around the world which have been pretty rocky and yet on the counterterrorism level, it's been very, very good cooperation. even when i was in office at times that some other countries were not necessarily seeing eye to eye on iraq or other issues, at the law enforcement level there was always a lot of exchange of information because it's mutually important. this is important to the russians as it is to us. i would put some emphasis on making sure that our relationships with the russians or anybody else at this level are being maintained properly and so there is a good flow of cooperation. >> i've heard talk that one of the reasons why it might not
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have gone as swimmingly as it should have is because russia is always trying to convince the u.s. that the chechens with whom they're involved in this ugly, bloody war for years and years, they're always trying to convince the u.s., the chechens are our enemy and the u.s. is very wary of ever getting dragged into that conflict. do you think that did-is that accurate that that is a tension? >> it certainly causes you to be careful. if you go back to the early '90s europeans went to chechnya to fight. they came back to europe and became terrorists in europe. we saw that in france and other parts of western europe. so there is a history of people going to the region and coming back radicalized. again, you wouldn't necessarily take it at face value but you can't really ignore it either. you got to drill into it. that is frankly what the job of the security folks, every single day, is to really kick the tires and make sure they're extracting every bit of information they can. >> all right. former homeland security secretary michael chertoff thanks for joining us. we'll go live now to a defense conference at boston the defense
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attorneys for the three gentlemen arrested today. >> litigating that in court. thank you very much. that wasn't much of a press conference. i guess he just gave some comments and then left. so let me share some polls right now. the polls we showed you earlier were conducted in the wake of the marathon bombings by cnn and "time" magazine the latest issue on news stands tomorrow. coming up next, she's the widow of the accused mastermind of the boston bombings. now the feds are pressing katherine russell for answers. we'll get a live report from her home. he told his friends to go into his dorm room and take whatever they wanted and one of the things they took was vaseline. we'll tell you why investigators are honing in on that fact.
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>> we do not know if those items were involved in a bombing or in any evidentiary value. we are the ones, cooperated with all law enforcement when they came to him without the benefit of counsel, to assist them in their investigation of this horrible tragedy. >> did you notice tsarnaev knew how to make bombs? did he also know that the gun powder or the powder that was in the fireworks and the vaseline could also be used for bomb making? >> no. >> if the fbi didn't come to your client would they have at any time go to the authorities to tell what they knew? >> i can only stick with what happened. i won't speculate. >> what about the text from tsarnaev according to the
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complaint saying go into my room and take whatever you want. was that some kind of signal to your client? >> it was no signal. i think it means the plain english meaning. >> are you concerned these guys will get a fair trial considering all that's going on in the country? >> no. i believe that the citizens of boston can fairly and accurately listen to the rules of law and give someone a fair trial. at least at this moment in time. that's all i have to say. >> why did your client reenter the country when he was no longer a student -- he was a student, a sophomore engineering major at the university of massachusetts. he did not attend classes regularly as the allegation later in this semester. he has been in this country legally. the technical violation of a student visa for not regularly attending classes. >> the government said they were expecting justice. can you explain that to me? >> no.
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no. >> i have a very brief statement for you. my name is harlan protass. my client azamat tazhayakov feels horrible and was shocked to hear someone he knew at the university of massachusetts dartmouth was involved with the boston marathon bombing just like many other individuals who were interviewed on campus. he has cooperated fully with the authorities and looks forward to the truth coming out in this case. i'd like to say, also, that he considers it an honor to be able to study in the united states and that he feels for the people of boston who have suffered as a result of the marathon bombing. thank you. thank you. >> thank you, guys. >> that was robert staal and harlan protass the attorneys, defense attorneys for the two
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kazakhstan students arrested today. they had already been held by immigration for not being here under the proper supervision and with proper forms but harlan protass and robert staal representing dias kadyrbayev and azamat tazhayakov. it sounds like these attorneys are going to say their clients knew nothing about this and they were shocked and horrified. >> right. it sounds like they are trying to set up of course it is very early but trying to set up an intent defense. yes, they did remove the backpacks but, no, they did not intend to obstruct justice. they were not thinking that they were dealing with evidence of the boston bombing case. obviously we will await the development of the evidence on that subject if there is not some sort of plea or other kind of resolution of the case before a trial. >> now, i had heard earlier today before the criminal complaint was released, it was
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sealed, but before it was unsealed, i had heard earlier in the day that the defendants in this case were suggesting that they remove these objects but they had no idea that their friend zom har was a suspect. of course that's not what the criminal complaint says. the criminal complaint says the three knew at the time and that they admitted after repeated questioning and repeated investigations at least in one suspect's case what -- that they did know. so i guess, is there often a big gap between what they tell the fbi and what they say in court? >> well, that's why we have trials. in fact, particularly in federal court, many cases in federal court often wind up with the actual facts of what happened, fairly undisputed. here even the attorney was saying, yes, they did, or yes his client did remove the backpack. but the question is, what was he
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thinking when he removed the backpa backpack? that's an intent issue and that is what gets played out at trial and ultimately that is what a jury decides if a case like this gets that far. and just remember, we are at an incredibly early stage. there's only been a complaint. there hasn't been an indictment. there haven't been any motions filed, there hasn't been any defense evidence presented so we are at a very early stage but i think you can see the broad outlines of at least the issues in the case if not how they'll be resolved. >> but the idea that they just went to their friend dzhokhar's room and picked up a backpack and then threw it out, while it doesn't make a whole lot of sense, it's much more innocent than the criminal complaint describes, which is they went to his room and according to them were not there for any reason. they went to his room and they saw things that looked damning and they thought he was the terrorist, the boston bomber based on the vaseline and the empty fireworks and so they decided to take that stuff.
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they took the lap top because it would -- that doesn't even make sense. they took the lap top because they thought it would make it look less likely to the roommate of dzhokhar that they were stealing but they took the lap top, took the information, the material, threw it out. i mean, it doesn't make any sense. go ahead, jeffrey. >> you have just summarized why they've been arrested. it is a pretty damning set of circumstances. now, at least at the beginning from one of the lawyers we heard that he is saying, no, they didn't know. again, there's a lot to learn about this case. all we know is 17 pages produced by the government and they are not obliged to give both sides of the story. this is an accusing document. that's why it exists. but, certainly, the accusation looks pretty damning and i think one interesting point that we haven't talked about is the main purpose for an arraignment
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usually is the issue of bail. and both attorneys basically said, we're not going to deal with that now. we agree to have them detained for the time being. since they are not american citizens, since they are not at least according to the government legally in the country, given the gravity of this investigation, i don't think there's going to be any bail in this case but at least the possibility there will be an application for bail somewhere down the line. >> jeffrey, also, the third man, phillipos, who is a u.s. citizen, his attorney spoke separately from the other two and you can see him laying out his case already in the criminal complaint saying that when the two kazakhs were talking they were speaking in russian and he didn't understand. he took a nap and when he woke up the material was gone. he is going to claim it is likely that he didn't know anything going on because the other two were speaking in a different language. >> well, it certainly is a plausible defense if it's true. and, again, that's why we have
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trials. he would certainly have a better chance of getting out on bail at least on the surface because people who are illegally in the country are almost automatically detained whereas american citizens at least have a chance of getting out on bail because there is the presumption or at least the possibility that they're going to return to court volume untear. >> all right. jeffrey toobin, thanks so much. we'll come back to you i'm sure. going to spend the next few weeks even months combing through every detail of the boston case looking for all possible missed signals that could have prevented the tragedy. former senator joe lieberman knows the process well. while he was chairman of the senate homeland security committee in 2011 he and ranking member senator susan collins republican of maine put together a report on the fort hood shooting and lieberman has been asked to testify at next week's house homeland security hearing on the boston attack. good to see you. last time i saw you was in newtown and this isn't a happier circumstance but it's good to have you on the show. >> thanks, jake.
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good to be here. >> i want to read part of your report on fort hood and the lessons learned. this was released in february, 2011, please put up the graphic right now. the fbi's transformation to become an efficient and effective intelligence-driven organization focusing on preventing domestic terrorist attacks is unfinished. now your report came out two years ago, after the events in boston. do you think the fbi's work is still unfinished? that was two years ago you said that. have we made any progress? >> yeah. we've made progress, and i'd say over all since 911 there's been a tremendous progress made within the fbi to become a first rate domestic counterintelligence, counterterrorism agency, but mistakes were made in the fort hood nadal hasan case and here, too, as well. in that case they had real evidence that hasan was
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communicating by e-mail with the radical cleric in yemen awlaki, and it somehow got lost in the system and never got to the army so the army might have taken action against hasan before he was able to kill 13 people at fort hood. in this case, i think, the fbi's questioning of tamerlan tsarnaev has to be looked back at and seen whether there was more they could have done. did they convey information about him to the joint terrorism task force on which massachusetts state and local police would have been present? of course, most of all, what happened when he left for dagestan and came back and the department of homeland security knew that or at least the system showed it pinged as secretary napolitano said, why didn't they go back and know it then? why didn't they go back and investigate? look, the fbi is a great agency but mistakes were made here.
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it's in everybody's interest most of all the fbi's to go back and fix what went wrong in this case. >> in fact, attorney general michael mukasey recently wrote there have been five individuals questioned by the fbi who after they were questioned went on to commit terrorist attacks and nadal hasan is one of them. obviously tamerlan tsarnaev is another. when you testified before this hearing, what is the main message you hope to convey? >> well, i've just been asked to testify, jake, so i want to know what the committee and house twoont hear. i am honored to be called to testify. the main message is we're a lot safer than we were on 9/11 because of all that we've done since then. the kind of attack that occurred in -- at the boston marathon is the kind a lot of us had nightmares about. we stopped a lot of terrorist attacks with tremendous help from the fbi, from the department of homeland security, from the cia.
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this one got through. and we just have to go back and in a very undefensive way figure out what went wrong. what could have been done to prevent this and make sure that this kind of attack never happens again. but i think the important thing is say particularly on a day when these three additional suspects have been arrested that this continues to be not a cold investigation but very hot investigation. anybody who made a conclusion early on that these were two lone wolves or they were acting in a primitive way, wrong. the more we go on, the investigation goes on, the more we learn and i think everybody ought to just hold their conclusions until this process is over. >> all right. senator joe lieberman, thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you, jake. coming up they were college buddies of dzhokhar tsarnaev and the rest of their lives depends on what they now tell
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welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. breaking news at this hour. three college friends of dzhokhar tsarnaev have been charged with covering for him by disposing of evidence during the man hunt for him. moments ago attorneys for the three suspects spoke to reporters outside the federal courthouse where the suspects appeared within the last hour or so. brian todd is outside that courthouse. brian, what have you seen? >> well, jake, the attorney for one of these suspects, the
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attorney for dias kadyrbayev was the one who did the most talking, robert staal. he essentially said his client absolutely denies the accusation of obstruction of justice and making false statements and he said his client did not know that, quote, this individual meaning dzhokhar tsarnaev, was involved allegedly in the boston marathon bombings. and, more specifically, to the charges that these three people tried to get rid of a backpack, he said that he did not know those items were involved in the search for evidence. here is a quick clip of what mr. staal said just moments ago. >> did not know the items were involved in a bombing or of any interest in a bombing or of any evidentiary value so that's all we have to say on that. but we are the ones, mr. dias kadyrbayev, who cooperated with all law enforcement when they came to him without benefit of counsel to assist in their investigation of this horrible tragedy. >> now, again, regarding the
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specific items involved that mr. staal is talking about, the crux of the complaint is the three of these college age men who knew dzhokhar tsarnaev at u-mass dartmouth went in on april 18th the night before he was arrested and went into his room and knowingly removed a backpack, threw it into a trash bag and into a dumpster. later it was discovered in a landfill and contained fireworks, jar of vaseline, and papers. again, investigators saying that they willfully did this. they did this in order to get rid of evidence. these attorneys denying that was the case. denying this was any part of evidence saying that their kplints absolutely did not conspire to obstruct justice. >> what they're saying is that the criminal complaint is not accurate. they're saying the criminal complaint which is based on at least according to the fbi based on interviews with the three suspects, which describes minute by minute how they hear that somebody who looks like dzhokhar is on cnn after the fbi released
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photographs, how one of them texts with dzhokhar, has exchanges, they go to dzhokhar's house, go to his apartment, they see empty fireworks with the powder gone. they see vaseline and they think that those devices -- those materials were used to make bombs. they then discussed what to do. they take the material. they take a lap top, go back home to their apartment. they see on cnn even more information earlier in the morning. they dispose of it. you are saying these attorneys are saying this fbi criminal complaint is full of lies. >> they are essentially saying that, jake. this is a very detailed complaint as you know. i know you've been going over it for the last several hours as we have. it's got very minute details about what these people allegedly did. these attorneys are saying this is essentially incorrect. that these charges are false. you mentioned the text. it's very interesting. i put the question to robert
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staal. the question on the 18th that night when one of them texted dzhokhar tsarnaev saying he looked familiar, he looked like someone identified as the bomber, that dzhokhar tsarnaev's return text said something like lol, you better not text me and more importantly, quote, come to my room and take whatever you want. i asked this attorney, robert staal, this is in the complaint. is it a signal from dzhokhar tsarnaev to your client to do something? he said fwit was no signal. they didn't knowingly remove evidence. >> thanks so much. she was married to the man the whole country now knows as suspect number one. now the feds are honing in on tamerlan tsarnaev's widow and we will get a live report right after this.
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ask your doctor about symbicort. i got my first prescription free. call or click to learn more. [ male announcer ] if you can't afford your medication, astrazeneca may be able to help. welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. breaking news as we've been reporting, three new arrests today in the boston bombing investigation. but tamerlan tsarnaev's widow is not among them. what, if anything, has the fbi been able to learn from katherine russell? i want to go out to our erin mcpike in russell's hometown in rhode island. what are you learning? >> reporter: well, jake, there are still no conclusive answers from the fbi about katherine
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russell. they want as much as they can from her because of course she lived in that tiny apartment in cambridge with the tsarnaev brothers. but so far her attorneys put out a statement yesterday basically saying she doesn't want to deal with tamerlan's remains. that will be the duty of tamerlan tsarnaev's uncles, jake. >> and she put out a statement, her representatives put out a statement a day or two ago. i don't want to be parcing too much, but she expresses regret of the tragedy in boston but nowhere in her statement is there any sort of acknowledgment that she believes her husband was involved. are they denying that her now dead husband tamerlan tsarnaev played a role in this investigation like other family members, other tsarnaevs are saying? >> well, jake, as you know, katherine russell has not breathed a single word in public since the bombings. her attorneys for their part have been extremely tight lipped
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every time we've tried to talk to them. one of her attorneys has basically said we're not talking to anybody and she certainly is not doing any interviews right now, jake. >> all right. erin mcpike in rhode island, thanks so much. here's a good rule. don't lie to the feds. phil mudd is the senior research fellow for the new america foundation and also has worked for both the fbi and the cia. he joins me now. thanks so much. what kind of trouble are these young men in, the three who are arrested today? >> i'd say pretty serious trouble. lying to a federal officer is not only a mistake but a federal crime. they are not only obstructing justice but they destroyed evidence in a case where four people died. all three of them, they have different charges, but all three are facing i guess a lot of heat right now. >> how much do you think today's criminal complaint is a way to try to squeeze them to get new information as opposed to actually laying out what they
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think happened? >> i've seen that characterization. i think it's misleading because first of all they did as i said earlier commit a crime. regardless of whether you want to squeeze them we're going to prosecute them here in the u.s. government or the people i used to work with. the second is when they come in for prosecution obviously somebody is going to say, look, son, if you don't talk to us you'll go down for the full count. so we want to know everything you saw and heard and when you saw it and heard it. so i do see the stories about them being pulled in to be squeezed but regardless, they're going to be prosecuted. >> at what point would they go theoretically from being suspects in obstruction of justice to being charged as accomplices? what would need to happen? >> i think you'd have to look through a volume of evidence. remember in the 21st century you're not just looking at physical evidence but the text we've heard about today. e-mail contacts over time, to see not just going back a week but maybe even months or years whether there is any inkling in their conversations or contacts with the conspirators about their knowledge of the case before hand. right now it doesn't look like
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there is but there is going to be some work to figure out whether that is true. >> you say no amount of surveillance by the government could have stopped this attack. obviously solving the mystery is another matter but stopping it. why not? >> i wouldn't say no amount of surveillance could have stopped it. clearly if you were on there the night before you could have figured something out. i think most americans see terrorism as episodic in their lives. it crops up in the newspapers or on tv once every three months, six months. in the world i lived in you're dealing with a huge tidal wave of information, suspects, investigations, so when you got thousands of investigations under way and you have one series of interviews in bonnett, it's hard to get above that noise level to say, these guys should have been the ones we investigated. >> all right. phil mudd, senior research fellow for the new america foundation who worked for both the fbi and the cia, thanks so much for joining us. we appreciate it. >> sure. >> you are currently looking at live pictures of what we believe are the three suspects on their
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way back from court as their sheriff's vehicle drives on the highway in boston. that is it for "the lead" today. i'm jake tapper. thanks for watching. i'll now leave you in the able hands of mr. wolf blitzer in "the situation room." wolf? jake, thanks very much. happening now, we're following the breaking news. three new arrests tied to the boston bombings investigation. friends of the alleged bomber, dzhokhar tsarnaev, have just appeared in court. they are charged with a coverup. two of them are said to have disposed of tsarnaev's lap top and a backpack containing fireworks. and we've learned of text messages dzhokhar tsarnaev allegedly sent to his buddies while on the run. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." we begin this hour with a stunning new twist in the boston bombings case. ra